Admissions

Admission into the Department of Philosophy’s graduate programs (both the MA and the PhD) is based on a variety of criteria, including a strong undergraduate record, letters of recommendation, a well-planned research proposal, and the department’s ability to provide instruction in the applicant’s area of interest.

Please keep in mind that successful applicants typically have qualifications higher than the minimum listed. The process is very competitive and each year we receive many more applications than we can accept. All successful applicants will be notified by the end of March.

Admission to the Master’s Program

  • Hold a Bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a minimum average of 76% (3.3 GPA) in third- and fourth-year level courses.
  • A degree in philosophy is not required; however, applicants are expected to also have EITHER:
  • A) Honours in philosophy with an 80 - 84% (3.7 GPA) in at least 12 credits of third- and fourth-year philosophy courses, OR
  • B) An A- or 3.7 GPA in at least 12 credits of course work typically including the following, with a B+ or 3.3 GPA in each:
    • Three credits in formal logic,
    • Six upper-level credits in the history of philosophy,
    • Three upper-level credits in ethics or value theory, and
    • Six upper-level credits in metaphysics, epistemology, or the philosophy of science.

Please note that these requirements must be met by the time you commence your program in September. You are welcome to apply if you expect to meet the requirements by September.

Admission to the Doctoral Program

Admission to the doctoral program in philosophy is based on one of the following:

  • A) A bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minimum average of 76% or 3.3 GPA in third and fourth-year level coursework and an average of A- or 3.7 GPA in third and fourth-year level philosophy courses. Undergraduate work prerequisite to the Ph.D. program typically includes:
    • 3 credits in formal logic
    • 6 credits at the upper level in the history of philosophy
    • 3 credits at the upper level in ethics or value theory
    • 6 credits at the upper level in metaphysics, epistemology, or philosophy of science
    • at least 6 additional credits at the upper level in any of the above or related areas.

OR

  • B) A master’s degree (or equivalent) in philosophy with clear evidence of research ability,

OR

  • C) A successful first year in a philosophy master’s program, consisting of 18 credits, including 10 credits at the 500-level or above and 10 credits with an A- or 3.7 GPA, and with clear evidence of research ability.

Please note that these requirements must be met by the time you commence your program in September. You are welcome to apply if you expect to meet the requirements by September.

Priority will be given to Canadian PhD applicants who have applied for a SSHRC dissertation fellowship.

Further minimum requirements for students from outside North America can be looked up on the Faculty of Graduate Studies web site.

Application Checklist

All those interested in either the Philosophy MA or the PhD program must submit an online application with the appropriate supporting documents to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Each application must include all of the following:

  • Online application form
  • All post-secondary transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample
  • Statement of purpose

All supporting documents are now uploaded as electronic files to the online application. Please note that official hard-copy transcripts are only required for verification when applicants are offered admission.

The following supporting documents are required for all applications:

  • Transcripts: Submit transcripts from all universities and colleges that you have attended, including universities from which no degree was received.
  • Letters of recommendations: Three letters of recommendation from three professors who have taught you, where at least two should be professors of philosophy. Reference letters may indicate whether the referee considers the student deserving of financial assistance. The online application system will automatically send a reference request to those listed in the application. Referees will have the option to fill out an online reference form, upload a reference letter, or mail a hard-copy letter. We prefer to receive references electronically.
  • Sample of writing: Upload a recent paper (15 - 20 pages) that gives an indication of your ability to criticize, analyze or develop philosophical arguments, preferably in the area in which you wish to specialize.
  • A brief statement of your interest: This statement should highlight your interest in philosophy and your related research area with a maximum word count of 400 words for M.A. students and 600 words for Ph.D. students.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency: Evidence of English language proficiency is required for applicants from a university outside of Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction. Tests must have been taken within the last two years at the time of your application submission.

Foreign Student Language Requirement

The Department of Philosophy welcomes applications from outstanding graduates from universities around the world. Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency in their application.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Applicants must obtain a minimum score of 100 on the internet version, 600 on the paper version and 250 on the computer version. Please send results using the following details:

  • Institution code: 0965
  • Departmental code: 20

IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): Applicants must obtain a minimum overall band score of 6.5 and no less than 6.0 on any other component.

Admissions FAQs

The deadline for all applications and ancillary documents is January 8th. After the deadline has passed the online application system closes and we no longer accept any applications – no exceptions.

Aim for about 15-20 pages. A short, recent paper that gives an indication of your ability to criticize, analyze or develop philosophical arguments, preferably in the area in which you wish to specialize.

No. As with other disciplines, graduate work in philosophy builds on extensive undergraduate preparation, and independent reading does not provide sufficient training. Skills in other disciplines may be helpful, but alone are not adequate evidence of philosophical ability. Students with a degree in another subject may be considered for MA admission, with evidence of strong performance in undergraduate philosophy coursework.

No. There is no pre-selection process. Admissions are competitive, and decided by a committee following independent review of files by members of the graduate faculty. Admissions decisions cannot be pre-judged.

Yes. You will be asked to scan official transcripts and upload them to your application. If you are offered admission, you will be required to mail original transcripts in sealed envelopes from your university to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC, as a condition of your admission. If we do not receive your transcripts before the start of your first term, you may not be allowed to register for classes. More instructions about where to mail transcripts will be sent with your offer letter.

Please do not send paper transcripts through the mail until an offer of admission has been made.

The Department of Philosophy and Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies requires transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, even if there are no grades on the transcript and even if you did not complete your coursework.

Your referee must submit an electronic reference letter through the online system. In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. A unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing them to log in to a secure site and upload a reference document as an attachment. Email addresses must be official, institutional addresses, not addresses from free email providers such as gmail or hotmail. Do not send references by Interfolio. Your referees need to use our e-reference tool which is part of the online application.

Domestic applicants: $102 CAD; International students: $165 CAD.

Application fees are based on your citizenship at the time of application. You may be required to provide proof of Canadian citizenship, and must provide proof of Permanent Residency.

As per the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the application fee is waived only in the following circumstances:

  • For international applicants whose citizenship and correspondence address is located in one of the world’s 50 least developed countries, as declared by the United Nations. These countries include but are not limited to Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Uganda. Complete list of eligible countries.
  • Students applying to graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry. The fee is paid for by the department.
  • Seniors: BC residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 65 years or over at the time of application.

If you are eligible for an application fee waiver, you do not need to apply for it. You will not be asked for a fee when you complete the online application.

No. The application fee pays for the evaluation of your application, and is not refundable. The Faculty of Graduate Studies can only refund the application fee when a program applied for has been cancelled.

As per the Faculty of Graduate Studies, if you do not have access to a credit card but do have Interac with Scotiabank, Royal Bank, or TD Canada Trust you may still apply and pay on-line.

If you do not have access to a credit card nor Interac with any of the above institutions, then:

  1. Contact the program(s) to which you intend to apply and let them know you will not be submitting your application online.
  2. Using the online application form, complete all fields, print and sign the application form
  3. Mail the printed application with a bank draft for the correct application fee to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver BC, V6T 1Z2).

The application fee may be paid in Canadian dollars by cheque, money order or bank draft, payable to “The Faculty of Graduate Studies”.

Please note that International application fees must be paid in Canadian dollars by money order or bank draft, as cheques may not be compatible with Canadian banks. The money order or bank draft must be made payable to “The Faculty of Graduate Studies”.

All applicants are automatically considered for funding, and international applicants are considered on an equal basis with Canadian applicants. Canadian applicants can apply for SSHRC funding through their undergraduate or graduate institution.

No. We do not require GRE test scores.

The general UBC policy is that previous courses that have already been applied to a degree may not be applied towards a new UBC degree. If you have taken courses in the past but withdrew from the program, then those courses may (up to a certain limit) be transferred and applied towards a UBC degree.

Your research interests can be incorporated into the on-line application. We realize that applicants typically have multiple research interests and may change their interests upon starting the program. A statement of research interests is still a very useful part of the application and is carefully read during the evaluation of applications.

If you have at least one degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English, we do not require an English proficiency score.

If you are moving to UBC, there is a range of accommodations available, from dorm-style housing to single-family residences, both on and off-campus.